The weather is getting cooler, and in its general inspiring effect, I started doing my general two-fold way of writing. Editing the third book – I’m at midpoint, thinks I – and slowly planning what I plan to do next.
And therein lies the rub. What should I do next with my characters?
That is the challenge of a series with more than one arc. Looking back over the first four books – regardless of how rough or refined the drafts are – I see that I have given my characters ample potential to grow, and grow they did. Where they start out nearly…casual…in the way they approach problems, ethical challenges, losses, personal conflicts have reshaped them, and changed their approaches to, well, everything. Very much like we humans tend to do over time.
The characters leave the end of Book 4 in a very strange way. Shourron I is so traumatized by the events that led up to the conclusion of Book 4 that he goes and does something more or less reflexive for anyone who goes through hell and back. Arriella took a crash course in leadership, but instead is faced with conflicts that she overlooked. And the overall climate of my characters is shifting; theirs is not the kind received easily anymore, especially after their last jaunt garners less-than-stellar reviews.
So this is where I’m left off from. And now I’m wondering, what should I throw their way next?
The general and accepted saying among fiction authors goes, “Write what you know.” Every generation has its war, and I’m seeing the war that’s home to our generation. I’m also seeing how little people take care of what’s around them, and the extent to which this world is being pushed by that. This, if anything, is a world in conflict that we’re living in, and if that’s what I know, then it’s ripe for writing inspiration, however dark said writing may turn out to be.
That all said, I’m also not sure if I want to push my characters into the same conflicts that we Earth-people deal with. It will come out to be heavy, overbearing, maybe more ‘fiction’ than ‘science fiction’ in many regards. But there’s a lot to be said for conflict. I can always designate an issue per arc, if need be, but how to stretch it…?
Books 1-4 have an arc of their own, so Book 5 is designating one. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m going to put in far as one of the characters’ Personal Arc – that’s a given. What I need to know is the details.
I’m sure it’s nothing some music and random writing in cafes won’t fix.